Category Archives: Professional Rider

A professional rider will be competent on all horses, regardless of their temperament, making them experts in horse competition and eventing.


Steven Franks – Top Tips for Top Class Rides


Steven Franks –   With over 15 years experience in producing horses to Olympic and Grand Prix level, Steven Franks reveals his top tips on training his horses and buying a show jumper.

 When did you become serious about show jumping?

I was 17 when William Funnell spotted me at a show and said I should work for him if I wanted a career in show jumping. I ended up staying with him for seven years. At the beginning I was riding his young horses and, as the years went by, I got the opportunity to ride some of the more established ones and to carve out a career.

Name the highlights.

Back in the day… riding Cevin Z at three Horse of the Year (HOYs) finals and placing at a few international Grands Prix with Mondriaan.

More recently, since setting up my own business, coming second in 2015 at the Hickstead Derby on Carlow Cruiser and second in Spain at the three-star Grand Prix with Brutus III. He was a winner at CSI Bolesworth with Billy Ginger as well as winning the Area Trial at Edenbridge County Show.

Tell us a bit about your horses.

I have three horses with double clears at International Grand Prix:

Brutus III (by Billy Congo) is a really special 10-year old who has jumped nine world ranking classes on the trot without dropping a pole.

Carlow Cruiser (by Cruising) is a veteran at 18! He is a 16.2hh grey gelding, with incredible ability but is a menace in prize givings.

Abdul Aziz (Diamant de Semilly) a 2004-born black 16.2hh gelding.

Then I have Holly Congo (by Billy Congo) who at nine years old is winning 1.40 classes, as well as Billy Ginger who is the winning machine.

I also bought Brutus’ brother, seven-year old, 17.2hh Amethyst. He is currently jumping Fox Hunter classes. I don’t like to work big horses hard when they are young as they are simply too weak — it’s important to work on getting a good canter. And no… 1m30 isn’t big for a horse that size!

Are they for sale?

Every one is for sale but they’re not pushed under people’s noses.

How do you keep your horses sound and happy?

I place an emphasis on keeping them fit for the job but not over jumped — the fitter they are, the less likely they will pick up an injury. If they are established and competing, I hardly jump at all at home and, even then, it’s no bigger than 1m30. It’s purely to keep their jumping muscles strong. The younger horses (under seven) will jump more in order to improve their technique.

So what’s a weekly schedule for an established horse like Brutus?

Five days week they’ll be out in the field for two hours and they will be hacked three times a week. I will also work them in the paddock three times a week – I find that the sand school disguises a few things but in an open field there’s nothing to help you with straightness!

Do you use any training tools or favour any specific bits?

My motto is generally to keep it simple and most of my horses go in snaffles. Sometimes the horses with a high head carriage work with a bungee to work longer and lower and to use the muscles across their back but, in general, for show jumpers I think that if they are comfortable and happy carrying their head high or poking their nose, it’s better than forcing them to go in an outline and lean on the rider.

You now own your own business breaking and producing other people’s horses. What’s the most important thing when training a youngster?

The basics are flat work – straightness, self carriage, working forward, and being responsive off the leg and not dependent on the rider.

Can riders come to you for lessons?

In around five years time I’ll probably teach lessons, but at the moment that’s not a priority.

So do you train with anyone regularly?

In the past, of course, I’ve been trained by William Funnell and Di Lampard and if I had a problem at a show I’d always ask their advice, but no, I don’t train regularly with anyone. Most of the time I figure it out for myself. There’s no right or wrong way. Every horse is different. You just have to be clever…forever thinking.

What advice would you give other upcoming show jumpers?

I find watching certain riders I admire, such as Marcus Ehning, helps. And often it’s more beneficial to watch them in the warm up rather than the ring.

What’s important when buying a show jumper?

The most important thing is intelligence and a big heart. I’d rather they had less talent and a heart of a lion than be ultra talented and only give 80%. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, I think buying the right horse is down to gut instinct – look at a horse, get on and try it. Sometimes what you are looking at on paper simply doesn’t translate when you ride them.

So do you think blood lines are important and which ones do you like?

Yes it does count — I have three horses by Billy Congo: Brutus III, Holly Congo and Billy Ginger.

But my other favourites are similar to most others… Diamant de Semilly and Kannan.

What are your goals for the future?

To keep some young horses coming through so that we can keep going to the top shows. Keep the form and success up so that we can continue to climb the world rankings. Winning a Grand Prix and the Hickstead Derby, now that would be nice!

And why Horse Scout?

The social media side is very good — it’s so important these days to network and market yourself.

Interview by Sam Lewis Journalist and PR for Horse Scout

More about Steven Franks and the horses he produces can be found on Horse Scout

Visit Steven Frank’s profile page to find out more about the horses he has for sale which, at the time of writing include two wonderful youngsters ready to take the stage:

Box Clever a talented 5 year old who had a clear round in the Discovery at his first show. A handsome looking gelding by Box Clever – follow this link to his sales page.

Steven also has a talented homebred mare by  Adorado x an Animo Nimmerdor mare who is winning with double clears in Newcomers ready for 2017 and has also jumped double clears at Foxhunter.  A quality horse ready for a keen amateur to produce. Steven has ore information on her Horses for Sale page, follow this link.

More on Horse Scout about the stallions Steven franks mentions.

Horse Scout is the place to visit if you are looking for any of the top class stallions that Steven has mentioned in his interview.  Horse Scout really does have a top class line up listed on its Stallions at Stud pages. Visit our Stallions At Stud pages or use the links to particular stallions in the text above.

Ibby Macpherson on Equine Hydro Therapy


Abby Macpherson talks about Equine Hydrotherapy

Ever thought about the benefits of equine hydrotherapy? International event rider Ibby Macpherson chats to Horse Scout about how hydro can help heal injuries and keep healthy horses sound.


What made you launch an equine hydrotherapy business?
When my grandmother died she left me some money and instead of buying a horse (which was tempting) I decided to buy an equine hydrotherapy spa. I’ve been running it for nearly 10 years now. I guess it all started when William Fox Pitt gave me the incredible eventer Igor De Cluis, who was difficult to keep sound. He went in the spa once or twice a day to keep him on the road. It seemed to work — he took me around a few CIC three star events, including Blenheim and Boekelo.
Who’s a regular at your centre?
Numerous people including riders like Jodie Amos who sends her horses to me when they’ve had a big run. When they’re here they go to the hydro spa twice a day, get turned out (we have acres of land here) and have the Activo-Med (magnet therapy) rug on twice a day. It’s like having some R&R — even if there’s nothing wrong, it’s a great preventative measure.
How often do your horses have hydro?
All of my horses have hydro after an event or after they’ve galloped, again as a preventative measure.
And how useful is it in healing injuries?
I’ve seen amazing results for a variety of ailments, although the treatment should be relentless — twice a day, seven days a week. Quite a lot of owners who have used it say they wished they’d tried it before going down the needle route. It is very good at drawing out bruising and infection, but it is also very good at helping to heal fleshy open wounds.
What other treatments do you recommend for horses?
I also take my horses to a nearby water treadmill twice a week (we are hopefully going to put one in our centre here soon) — it’s really good for their core strength and for getting their back more mobile and supple without putting strain on their legs.
Can you briefly explain what the equine hydrotherapy looks like and whether the horses get nervous?
For the horses it’s like walking into a single trailer and after the front and back ramps are raised, it begins to fill with water. The level of the water depends on the injury but typically stops at just above their hocks with underwater jets providing gentle massage. We have a very good routine which seems to work when putting horses in the spa and everything is done very slowly and calmly to ensure that every horse is reassured and doesn’t get stressed.
And what’s the theory behind it?
It’s basically similar to rugby players getting in an ice bath. The cold water (around 2-5 degrees Celsius) initially reduces swelling by making the blood vessels constrict (vasoconstriction), flushing out toxins and afterwards a rush of fresh blood (vasodilation) accelerates the healing process increasing circulation. The water contains salt and Epsom salts so has many of the benefits of sea water.
What do you advise if riders don’t have access to a hydro centre?
Cold hosing is very superficial especially in summer, I’m a firm believer in icing and cold therapy, and that the quicker you cool legs down after a run, the better. You don’t have to buy expensive jelly ice boots, you can’t beat simple good old fashioned ice — the sort you make in ice cube bags. Just tuck some into their boots and apply for 20 minutes, using something like a j-cloth to prevent burning their skin.

Interview by Sam Lewis for Horse Scout

Ibby Macpherson has recently joined Horse Scout Professionals and has a professional profile on our site.  To find out more about Ibby Macpherson Eventing and Hydrotherapy click through on the link.


Talking to Ibby Macpherson


Horse Scout are Talking to Ibby Macpherson, International Event Rider, Northamptonshire

If you haven’t heard of Ibby Macpherson, it’s only a matter of time… A talented event rider who recently finished 5th at Branham CCI***, she tells Horse Scout why William Fox Pitt gave her a top horse, why she spent her inheritance money on a hydrotherapy spa and why she’s launched a new innovative event horse syndicate opportunity.

How did you learn to ride?

I think it was on a sheep! My parents owned a pedigree black sheep farm in Scotland.

Have you worked for anyone famous?

After competing in the Junior Europeans in 1999 and 2000, a few years later I became stable jockey for William Fox Pitt and his team. William, Alice and Granny Potts (William’s long-time head girl) are fantastic to work for, and they are still great friends today. I was lucky enough to school and jump all of the horses when William wasn’t at home and competed some of his young horses.

And William Fox Pitt gave you a horse?

Yes, I am incredibly lucky to have been given Igor De Cluis who was 8th at Le Lion D’Angers as a seven-year-old with William. I could never have afforded such a top class horse but he didn’t stand up to the pressure — soundness wise — at that level with William. I am eternally grateful to Judy and Jeremy Skinner and Margie and David Hall who owned him and gave me the opportunity. I had to be really fussy where I ran him, and made sure that he had hydrotherapy once or twice a day to keep him on the road, but he took me around a few three star events including Blenheim and Boekelo.

So tell us about your top horses now.

I don’t have many horses at the moment but the ones I do have are competitive at their relevant levels.

Ballingowan Diamond (Monty) is a 12-year-old, 16.2hh chestnut gelding (Welcome Diamond out of Phardante mare) with 329 BE points. Monte came fifth at the CCI*** Bramham this year; fourth in the CIC*** at Chatsworth 2016; and third at Hartpury CIC*** in 2015. I’m aiming him at either Burghley or Blenheim this autumn and hopefully Badminton in spring 2017.

Ballingowan Echo is another 12-year-old who is equally as talented but frustratingly we have had a few silly blips and his personality is very different… a bit more complex…. He has been quite competitive and won a few OIs. I’d like to take him around a CIC three star at the end of this year.

Evantos K is a 16.3hh seven-year-old gelding that I’ve had since he was four having bought him from Claire Robertson at Retreat Farm Stud. He has got it all… He’s a fantastic mover and a really scopey jumper. He’s Dutch with around 48% thoroughbred in him, so I think he has enough blood… I’m excited about him, but he is big and weak and is going to take time to mature and strengthen up. He has won four novices and was second in the CIC* at Rockingham. He was really good in his first intermediate at Aston but he is going to have a couple of months’ training at home aiming for hopefully Osberton seven-year-old CIC**.

Deoch an Doris. Doris is a very special to me! He is 13-year-old 16.1hh black gelding with a very big sense of humour. He’ll be with me for life — he was given to me by Jock Mcfarlane whose wife Mary trained me for a long time when I lived in Scotland. Doris was her dressage horse and after a long battle with cancer Mary sadly died. He is very naughty sometimes in the dressage arena adding some freestyle moves here and there but he is an incredibly powerful jumper with a fabulous technique. He’s 13 now but it’s taken his body time to adjust from being ridden on a surface to galloping and jumping on grass. He is a much admired ‘pocket rocket’ and I there is a lot to come!

Fread Needle is a 16.3hh five-year old gelding. He is out of Golden Needle by Bollin Terry, bred by my sister Rose and has done some BE100s this year, coming third at one. I don’t like doing lots with four and five-year-olds… I believe that quite a few horses don’t reach their full potential because they are pushed too young and their brains and/or bodies can’t cope with it. I’d rather they were slower starters and did more later on in life.

So do you compete any horses that you don’t own?

Yes, Dungeon Hill is a 16.3hh nine-year old gelding that I ride for Fee Wilson, in Dorset. I have a couple of spaces for some more horses to ride, but want to fill them with the right ones!!

What’s the aim of your new scheme, the Picnic Partnership?

I’m lucky because I own some lovely horses, but I cannot afford to keep and compete them all without some support. This new initiative not only helps me keep competing my horses, but it also enables people to get involved in the sport without committing to vast amounts of money and unexpected expenses. The initiative — which costs £400pp a month — enables members to have an interest in four horses from BE100 to four star (CCI****). They can come and watch training sessions and support us at competitions. I have a catering company which supplies a picnic for every event members go to — with wine! It’s a great opportunity because with four horses at various levels, there’s always something going on and it’s a fantastic chance to visit some fabulous venues throughout Britain.

Who do you train with?

Nigel Taylor and Fred Bergendorff (jumping); Andrew Fletcher and Hillary Westropp (flat); John Pitt helps as a performance manager; and Danielle Olding is a sports psychologist/life coach whom I find really helpful. I also do lots of Pilates with Tina Sheridon — it’s really helped to strengthen my riding over the last year making me more aware of my posture.

How do you keep your horses sound and happy? 

In terms of soundness, they all go in the hydrotherapy spa regularly as I have one here on site (I run an equine hydrotherapy spa business — see next week’s blog) and they’re also taken to a nearby water treadmill once a week which I think is very beneficial for their core strength and keeping them supple without putting pressure on their limbs. I’m also a firm believer in the Activo-Med range, particularly the pulse electromagnet massage therapy rug. My horses all live out at night from mid-March until the beginning of November (weather dependent). I think this is a good way to keep them happy in their heads and the constant movement maintains the suppleness in their bodies. I think it also helps to alleviate problems like gastric ulcers.

Why Horse Scout?

The horse sales side of it is clever but it’s also a very exciting equestrian initiative enabling industry networking at the highest level.
Interview by Sam Lewis

Find out more on Horse Scout

Joe Clayton – International Show Jumper


Joe Clayton, 26 –  International show jumper –  Nottinghamshire

 Horse Scout speaks to the international show jumper about working for Olympian Michael Whitaker, his top horses, favourite stallions, ultimate goals and achievements

You’re second cousin to John and Michael Whitaker — were you riding horses before you could walk?

No, my mum has always had horses so I’ve always been around them, but I was into football mainly and only really started riding when I was 11.

And when did you started jumping?

As soon as I started to ride…

Didn’t you fall off?

I could ride straight but fell off at the corners…

So how did you learn to stay on?

My mum had lessons with Susie Gibson and I started having 10 minutes at the beginning or end of her lesson and pretty soon I’d hijacked her entire lesson. I also had some good ponies — from William Whitaker, who was just around the corner.

What was your first job?

I went to work for Alan Fazakerley (British pony team coach) and Sally Lane in Essex, before coming back up north to Michael Whitaker’s yard. I’ve been here eight or nine years now.

So your trainer is Michael Whitaker?

Yes, he’s really helpful on the flat and jump. His son, Jack, is here too and we chat amongst ourselves and work together as a team, trying to improve and make our horses better.

What’s a typical week for the horses when you’re at home?

Flatwork Monday and Tuesday and a grid Wednesday for the young ones, followed by perhaps a couple of local shows. The older ones don’t jump too much but they get to hack around the block and go on the treadmill in the afternoon. We’ve just had a gallops put in which is really useful and they go on that to warm up and loosen off most days. They all get a day off and time in the field.

What’s your best tip for budding show jumpers?

Keep going… it can be difficult but keep training and you’ll figure it out.

And your advice for buying a show jumper?

Pick something that suits you – don’t buy a sharp one if you’re hot seated for example.

And do you think bloodlines are important?

If a horse jumps and it’s good, sometimes doesn’t matter. But I do find bloodlines interesting and it’s handy to see how many good horses certain stallions have produced.

So do you have a favourite stallion?

Not really, although I’ve had a couple of amazing horses by Calvaro, there are a lot of good stallions out there like Concord and Heartbreaker. Michaels seven-year-old grey stallion, Valmy de La Lande (Mylord Carthago x Starter), is also looking like a serious future prospect — I won the mare and stallion class on him at Hickstead recently.

to see Joe clayton on action use this link to his youtube site

Tell us about your main horses and their main achievements.

My top ride is Conman JX, a 2007 bay gelding (Conterno Grande x Chacoa) owned by Michael Whitaker and Sarah Billington. He’s come on so much and has lots of ability although still a bit green at the level he’s jumping at.

He’s done a few Nation Cups and 5-star Grand Prix and came third at the Nations Cup in Falsterbo, Sweden this year.

He’s a bit of a funny character, quite nervous and needs his own space. He hates other horses so he goes out on his own and can be quite hard to ride with other horses around which means I sometimes have to warm up early.

Cally V is a 2008 chestnut mare, home bred by Michael (Calvaro out of a good mare of Michael’s).

She’s scopey and very promising jumping 1.40s normally clear. She’s done a couple of international shows and gone well in the small classes.

Millioninmind is a 2007 bay gelding, owned by Steve Barnes. He’s very promising and won Grade C at HOYs last yar, now competing 1.40 and 1.45 two-star Grand Prix. He placed first at a 3-star this year. He’s cheeky, likes his food and always overweight.

Lexie III is another homebred mare by Calvaro (2009) and has qualified for Newcomers HOYs.

She’s another funny character and can be a bit of a madam sometimes.

Do you have time to ride any more?

I’m always looking for good horses and owners who would like to support me.

So what would you consider your best achievement?

Jumping double clear at the super league Nations Cup (5-star) last year in Gijon, Spain.

I’ve won the puissance at HOYs puissance twice on two different horses.

Also winning at the accumulator a The Great Yorkshire show in 2015.

And your ultimate goal?

Like most people, I would love to ride at the Olympics one day… I would love to win the Grand Prix (Cock of the North) at my favourite show (Great Yorkshire) and win at Championship level one day!

Why Horse Scout?

It’s great to build a profile and to see those of other riders. The horses you browse, aren’t the same ones all the time either.


Interview by Horse Scout Journalist Sam Lewis

More About Horse Scout and Joe Clayton


Louise Anne Bell – Competes For Britain


Louise Anne Bell – International dressage rider and working hunter champion 

Banbury, Oxfordshire

Not content with winning the Supreme Working Hunter Champion title 15 times at the Royal International Horse Show, Louise Bell turned her focus to dressage four years ago and now competes for Great Britain.

How did you get involved with working hunter classes?

I was around 17 and into eventing when I started to work for Daphne Wyatt who was into showing. Eventing was expensive and I discovered that I found showing easier and could be successful — I actually produced a horse of hers which she sold on and it went on to become Junior European champion!

What advice would you give to someone trying to make a similar transition?

Come to someone like me for help rather than muddle your way through! And make sure you have a quality horse — one that’s nearly a good flat show horse but has a good enough jump for a working hunter show class.

Any tips to impress the judges?

In showing, as the round isn’t timed you don’t need to jump a course quickly. You want to ride a rhythmical, flowing clear round that’s also stylish — and your horse must ride for a stranger. Be confident, stay focussed and walk your course as you would ride it.

Do you favour any specific bits or tack?

In showing you can use any number of bits, it doesn’t matter, just use what’s best for the horse.

How did you get into dressage?

I’ve always loved flatwork that’s why my show horses go so well. So when Horse & Hound asked me to take part in a swapping discipline challenge with Michael Eilberg I was really keen. But I soon discovered that dressage is a huge undertaking and I had to accept that I didn’t know anything and start from scratch.

What was the most difficult part of dressage for you personally?

Establishing the contact. In showing we want the lightest contact — as a lot of judges who get on won’t pick up a contact your horses have to go well without it. But I soon learnt that in order to get a horse engaged and going correctly you need a good contact. I went through phases of my contact being too strong and now it’s much lighter again. You have to learn how to use your body and your hands independently. It’s so difficult but awesome once you get it.

You must enjoy it — and are clearly good at it — as you made your small tour debut just two years after the challenge?

I get as much buzz out of dressage as jumping, if not more, and love doing things such as one-time changes. I guess I’m addicted to the training and the special bond it creates, probably because of the hours you have to put in! There’s so much attention to detail in everything that you do with dressage — the horse has to understand you in every way. It’s so intense.

Louise Anne Bell how did your two star working hunters — W Get Smart and Into the Blue — take to the transition to dressage?

I’ve had Into the Blue (Dynamo) since he was three and he’s now 10. He is adorable but demanding — a bit of a pre-madonna and very opinionated. Dynamo found dressage very hard at the start as he’s very spooky… As he finds everything a little too easy, I have to challenge his mind in ways not to indulge his spook! But once he has understood something he will try and please you… and maybe pop in a spook after! He loves one time changes, piaffe, and passage.

So he’s clearly doing well…

Yes… he’s now getting 70% at Inter 2 (and has qualified for nationals at Inter 2), is competing at PSG and will compete at Grand Prix in the autumn.

He won his first advanced at Hartpury few years ago, was second in Valencia and third in Saumur this year (medium tour) and fourth in Barcelona and Mallorca last year (small tour).

And W Get Smart?

He’s the 13-year-old Dutch-bred son of Pythagoras and out of a KWPN mare called Hester whose grandfather is Blakeney, a TB racehorse… He’s a real pleaser, but he sometimes takes control and being nearly 18 hands you can understand why he should really belong to a guy!

He found taking on dressage very easy winning both regional champs and winter champs in medium and advanced medium, but keeping him in self carriage is hard for me although he’s getting very good at it now — the advanced work in piaffe passage has helped him massively.

He’s currently not far behind Into the Blue and competing at Inter 2, coming ninth in Deauville recently.

Do you have any other horses?

I also have another young horse, Zack-ki Rosenlund, who is seven years old. He’s dressage bred but has jumping lines on mother side (Landgraf). I’m hoping he’ll do PSG next year small tour.

So you’re clearly more of a dressage rider than working hunter girl now?

I devote most of my time to dressage but I’m still a part time working hunter rider. My working hunter Catch the Beaver has now qualified for HOYs in the working hunters and recently won me my tenth National Supreme Working Hunter Championship, following in the great footsteps of my legends of the past — Rocky IV, Out of Sight, Cruise C and Cracker — who also won this title on more than one occasion.

You clearly have an eye for a good horse. What do you look for? (when buying a horse)

Temperament, but it’s also got to have presence…. a ‘look at me’ element.

The rest I can work on. It’s also got to have a great walk and great canter.

Any favourite dressage bloodlines?

No. Into the blue is jumping bred (by John Whitaker).

Who do you train dressage with now?

Michael Eilberg once a week. He jumped before he got into dressage so he’s understood me as a rider from day one.

What tips did he give you?

Listen… and do what i say!

And your ultimate goal?

Tokyo 2020. I can’t win medal in working hunter so maybe it’s meant to be dressage.

And why an ambassador for Horse Scout?

It’s a classy website with detailed information on horses and riders. It’s also a fantastic tool for us riders to get our work seen by the public and also great for transparency for buying and selling top quality horses.

Interview by Sam Lewis for Horse Scout

Find out more about Horse Scout Ambassador Louise Anne Bell

Get the most recent updates on Louise Anne Bell and find out more about opportunities to buy her horses and support her as a rider on Horse Scout profile pages for professional coaches, trainers and riders by using this link . 





Zazou Snow – great connections on Horse Scout


Zazou Snow: A striking Novice Event Horse, with considerable scope to progress, is for sale through Aaron Millar from his yard Aaron Millar Eventing at Court Farm in Dorset, and also advertised on the Horse Scout Horses For Sale pages.  This bold gelding with a careful but scopey  jump has been producing consistently across country.  Aaron says that he has a super temperament and is very easy to do, always a bonus when with the Farrier or being clipped!  He is a happy versatile horse who is as happy living out as in and has proved popular on Aarons yard.  A great choice as a mother daughter share or for a teenager who is coming off ponies.  He is fit, ready to compete and ready for his next five star home.

By Concorde, this flea bitten grey thoroughbred X is the perfect size as a mother daughter share of for the smaller rider, standing at 16hh he is connected to three of Horse Scouts Stallions at Stud namely:

Nameless R standing for The Stallion Company and for Select Stallions  so feel free to look at these horses through either this link or this one.

Another grey stallion also by Concorde is Umberto II who stands on the Isle of Anglesey and a third dark bay Rhenium Valentino  who stands in Brakenspa Stud farm, Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Aaron would be very happy to chat to you about Zazou Snow you can contact him through The Aaron Millar Professional Profile Page on Horse Scout by following the link here.

Aaron also has another lovely coloured horse, April Shower, who is also 16hh and is currently ridden by a light weight girl so a viewing of both horses would give potential buyers the choice.  This young mare is snaffled mouthed in all three phases and has been XC schooling and has hunted in for a season Ireland and completed some training shows. this attractive 5 year old has three smart paces making her a dream horse for a competitive teenager and an easy ride for Mum!

Aaron Millar has already featured on our blog talking about his career in a recent interview with Sam Lewis our Horse Scout reporter.  Read all about his career as a professional competition rider and the horses he trains on his yard here.


Talking to Charlie Hutton – International Dressage Rider


Charlie Hutton – International dressage rider –  Talland School of Equitation, Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Want to know what Charlie Hutton looks for in a dressage horse, how to get that elusive 80% and what it was like growing up at Talland? The international dressage star chats to Horse Scout and reveals the characters of his top horses, plus his insights into training them and his students


You’re the son of Pammy Hutton… were you born in the saddle?

Well, I don’t remember this, but apparently I started out riding in a basket on the back of a pony when I was just two years old. And then not much later I was put on one of my mum’s friend’s Grand Prix horses and was bucked off. It was downhill from there!

So you were always into horses?

No, actually I was always into sport and loved rugby and rowing but I wasn’t really interested in dressage until I was 14. Before that my mum used to bribe me and give me a pound every time I had a lesson — and let’s just say I wasn’t rich!

So what was your favourite discipline and what did you want to be when you grew up?

I jumped and hunted but the truth is I was more interested in the sausage rolls and port!

In terms of a career, I had high hopes of becoming an architectural engineer but then I got the dressage bug.

What made you change your mind and enjoy dressage? A particular horse?

No, for me it just wasn’t satisfying to walk, trot and canter. It was when I had the ‘OMG moment’ as I started to understand that you can communicate with a horse in such a unique way in dressage. Dressage requires such a wonderful bond with horse and rider. I remember at 14, going up to my mum and telling her I wanted to ride seriously and she just laughed because I think by then she’d just given up hope.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

I’m still waiting for it! Seriously, I haven’t got what I want yet.

But if I had to mention the ‘stand out’ moments it would be going to the Youth Olympics where I won team gold and individual silver. It gave me a real taste of what it must be like to be at an Olympics. Another memorable moment was at Bolesworth this year where Super Blue and I won the feature event beating Charlotte Dujardin — the lap of honour was really magical because there was Carl and I trotting around together as winners and Super Blue really gave me everything he had that night.

And your ultimate goal?

I’d like to be on a senior championship team in the next few years and I’ve always had it on my list to go to the Olympics, although I’ve realised that it’s harder in real life than on paper… as there’s a horse involved, it’s not just about how hard you train.

So who has — and still is — influential in your training?

My mother, Carl Hester and I also spent a few months with the German Olympic team training under Johnny Hilberath.

What were the big lessons they taught you?

My mum taught me a huge amount about test riding, and how to be crafty in the ring, while my time in Germany, instilled in me the basics and how to be quiet and discrete — you have to sit still (you can’t move at all).

Carl? Well, he picks up on things that you’ve been struggling with and revolutionises your way of going, often by saying one line that you go home with, think about, try and then discover it works. As he often says: “The simple way is the best way”. He is such a wonderful rider and is someone I have always looked up to.

And you also teach/coach?

Yes too much! Last year I taught over 2,000 lessons and I freelance all around the world in Europe and America.

At what level do you instruct?

Any! I teach anyone willing and I get a thrill seeing people improve whatever their level.

What’s the hardest thing about being a coach?

Improving the connection with horse and rider. The rider needs to be able to feel… you can’t just say ‘kick now’, ‘half halt now’. It’s so subtle but it’s the difference between getting 70% to 80%.

Any tips on how to achieve this?

It’s appropriate to the person I’m teaching and I’m learning that being a coach is more about being a counsellor and psychologist. Some people take it far too seriously and improve when they’re reminded to go out, have fun and enjoy it. Others need their back side kicking because they can do it but they’re all airy fairy… then there’s the complex person with a huge amount of ability (but doesn’t believe it) and switches between ‘I can’t do it’ and then ‘I can’ and puts too much pressure on.

If I had to give one tip that applies to a lot of students it would be ‘Be brave — trust your instincts and have confidence’.

And you also coach your wife Abi… is that challenging?

I would say ‘no’ she would probably say ‘yes’.

At first it was hard, I wanted her to do better than anyone else and got too intense but Carl warned me: “Rather than you making your wife cry and go into another man’s arms, why not let me do that and let her run into yours”. I now try to take the pressure off and Abi has learnt that when she thinks I’m not right, I sometimes am (especially when I have video footage to prove it!)

How do you keep fit?

I ride around five to seven horses a day… I love sport and staying fit and do quite a bit of running and play squash from time to time.

Tell us about your top horses?

At the top level, there’s Super Blue, a 17hh, 11-year-old gelding by Showstar, owned by Judy Peploe. I’ve had the ride since 2013 and he’s now training at Grand Prix and competing at middle tour. He’s not much of a thinker but it suits his nature to let me set the rules. He’s also a bit spooky and notorious for standing on his hind legs in prize givings.

I’m also riding an exciting future prospect called Hawkins Rosanna, a powerhouse with huge potential and ability. She’s an eight-year old chestnut mare by Ruben Royale and again, owned by Judy Peploe. I’ve been riding her for 18 months and it’s taken a long time to discuss with her the principles of dressage — at the beginning it was her way or the highway! I’ve now built up a relationship and she’s listening more. It’s been a true test of character to be patient and not to worry that she’s behind in her development. I am lightly competing at elementary and medium and plan to do more at medium and advanced medium later this year.

So do you prefer geldings?

No, I’ve ridden geldings, mares and stallions and every horse is different. I had a mare that I trained that was so easy it took just four days to teach piaffe!

You can’t just put label on it but mares generally take a bit longer because hormones involved.

So do you look more towards breeding when buying a dressage horse?

To a degree, yes. Breeding is good on paper for when it comes to selling a horse. It increases value if there’s a particular stallion that’s famous.

And do you prefer a certain bloodline or type of horse?

If I have a choice I’d probably choose a German horse over Dutch but generally they don’t have to have big movement, I just want them to move loosely through the back and show elasticity and natural suppleness. It’s important to look more to their paces, ability and desire to learn.

How do you keep your horses fit, strong, supple — and happy?

We’re very fortunate at our yard to have a steep hill leading up to a ridgeway so we do a lot of work  up that in walk or at a very slow trot to strengthen their hind quarters — if they have a slight weakness, going up a hill slowly helps them to move their legs in straight fashion.

They’re also lunged in the EquiAmi to encourage them to stretch loose, long and low and we also use polework — it’s important to keep a varied routine.

Why Horse Scout?

It has sleek and stylish branding and there’s plenty of content from horses and stallions to riders and trainers — it’s unique to have it all combined together in one place.

Interview by Sam Lewis

Find out more on Horse Scout

Find out more about Charlie Hutton from The Talland School of Equitation and also those wonderful horses that Charlie Hutton campaigns and produces. At horse Scout we are always very grateful for these great tips from top professional riders especially when looking for horses for sale.  Charlie Hutton talks about his Wife Abi Hutton.  We have also interviewed Abigail Hutton, you can read the interview here or connect with her Professional Rider and Coach profile on Horse Scout by using this link.

horse scout talks to eoin gallagher international horse producer

Eoin Gallagher, Irish international show jumper, 29, Lincoln


Eoin Gallagher, The Irish international show jumper, based in Lincoln talks to Horse Scout about producing top class young horses and his dream to ride for his country.

How did you get into show jumping?

I’m actually not from an equestrian background at all… Born in County Down, I’m from a Gaelic footballing family, but as I was seriously ill with meningitis when I was seven, I was too weak to play. My next door neighbour went to pony lessons so I ended up tagging along. One day he stopped going. I never did…

What are your biggest achievements since then?

As a Junior I managed to get on a few trips to England with some good results, then a bursary to train with Stephen Hadley followed on from that. I was National Inter Varsity champion in Ireland when I attended Ulster university, before securing a full-time job with Dermott Lennon.

This year I had a couple of 2nds at a CSI 3-star show in Lanaken, Belgium, with Corbeagh Luxor in the 1.45m classes. More recently I have won a few 1.40m classes on the national circuit with horses I have produced from a young age.

Tell us about Corbeagh Luxor

He’s an 11-year-old, 16.2hh gelding — Irish bred (Corbeagh Vella x Lux Z (KWPN)).

I only began riding him this year and had some of the best results after just two months. He is scopey but like many Irish, easy to ride. Due to the success at Lanaken and various placings, he’s just been sold. I’m disappointed to no longer be able to compete him but he has a promising future with his new owners.

So you prefer riding Irish-bred horses?

Most Irish horses are fun and straight forward.

Some of the Continentals are more talented but take more figuring out to get better results.

So do you breed and if so what? 

I just started breeding with my mare Loughview Diamond Lux (half sister to Loughview Lou Lou) as she unfortunately got injured earlier in the year. I picked the stallion Action Breaker (son of Heartbreaker) — a KWPN. I chose Action Breaker as I was very impressed by his jumping technique, his attitude and rideability. His qualities compliment my mares very well.

Tell us about some of your other horses.

Lord Luidam is an 8-year old, 16.3hh gelding (Luidam x Northern Madera) who belongs to my wife. We’ve had him since he was five, and this year he stepped up to 1.40m classes, winning the Nottinghamshire County Show in May.

Illustro De Laubry is an 8-year-old, 16.2hh gelding (Beverly VD Heffinck out of Uganda De Laubry x Darco) who I ride for Sophie Marsh and her family and is jumping up to 1.30m.

Laroc is a 7-year-old German-bred gelding, also owned by the Marsh family. I’ve only had him for six months and I’m producing him slowly, giving him time to mature. He won a 1.30m class at Messingham Show recently.

Finally, Quontum, an 8-year-old gelding owned by Melanie Davison, is here for the summer.

What is your goal this year and beyond?

Longterm it’s every rider’s goal to ride for their country and if that opportunity arises I’ll grab it.

I’ve never really had any long-term campaigners at a higher level because the 8-year-olds get sold on and I’ve always had slightly younger (5,6,7 year olds) to produce.

For now, I’ll continue to build a strong team of horses and maintain good relationships with their owners to help keep moving the business forward.

You’ve have a lot of experience training young horses — any tips?

Be patient! It’s very easy to get disillusioned as they can be challenging and keep you guessing. When I was younger I was guilty of thinking of the next show and not thinking about a year down the line… I guess I’ve grown to learn it’s not always about tomorrow but the longterm, particularly with the young ones. In terms of their weekly schedule, like any of my horses they get a day off every week and turnout every day in the paddock. More time (eg three sessions a week) will be spent on flatwork than jumping and I find lunging on the pessoa can help too.

Do you train with someone?

Not often enough. If I am struggling with something, I’ll go to Dermot Lennon.

He helped me last summer and a couple of little things made a huge difference. By letting his head down a bit and lengthening and shortening the trot and canter, the horse gained more strength and started working better.

What are your top tips for buying a show jumper?

Don’t make any rash decisions and, if you are not sure, ask someone you respect.

A lot of riders are confident in their own ability and think they can make a horse better, but it’s easier to have a good horse and let it teach you, than try to make a bad one into a good one.

What’s the best tip you’ve ever been given?

If you always do what you always did you always get what you always got.

I think that applies to life, not just horses.

Another good bit of advice, I think by 2006 World Champion Jos Lansink, is that when things go wrong go back to the basics.

Who else has inspired you?

Growing up… Eddie Macken, who is retired now.

More recently, Scott Brash has been an inspiration to whole industry — someone the same age as me beating the guys who have been around for generations…

I also admire John Whitaker at the highest level.

Why Horse Scout?

I liked it from the moment I saw it. It’s great that there is somewhere that targets more elite horse sales and the social/connections side of Horse Scout is so different from any other equestrian website — it’s cool that someone has finally thought outside the box!

Interview by Sam Lewis

How Horse Scout Connects You  To The Best.

Horse Scout is dedicated to Sharing information about its professionals and the quality stallions listed at stud.

If you would like to find out more about Eoin Gallagher, international Show jumper based in Lincolnshire, then take a look at his professional profile page on Horse Scout. Eoin Gallagher is based at his training yard “Glebe Farm” in Lincolnshire.

Listed on the Horse Scout Horses For Sale pages he has two fabulous competition horses for sale, one of whom Illustro de Laubry  is a Belgian Warmblood has already won several fox hunter classes and qualified for Newcomers, who also has Darco breeding, is by Bently Van De  Heffinck listed on our Stallions at Stud pages by The Stallion Company. We have a blog about Bentley Van De Hefflink which you can read here.

His second horse listed Lord Luidam, a star in the making this horse is already competing at Grand Prix. Eoin has produced him since he was five and is justifiably proud of this lovely horse.

Horse Scout is dedicated to spreading the word about quality breeding and its professional producers.  Sharing links to siblings is a key feature on our website, for instance Lord Luidam has a sibling competing at 1.40m in Romsey campaigned by professional competition rider Tegan Jones.

Abigail Hutton – International Dressage Rider


Abigail Hutton, International Dressage Rider based in Oxfordshire

Since arriving at Talland in 2009, Abigail’s rapid rise in the world of dressage has been nothing short of impressive. Here she talks to Horse Scout about her goals and tips for keeping competitive horses happy.

When did you start to ride competitively?

I come from a non-horsey family and I was happy hacker until I was about 23 when I went to work for a show jumper in Ireland. I had always been interested in dressage and in 2009 my life changed when Pammy Hutton offered me a scholarship to be a working pupil at The Talland School of Equitation in Gloucestershire.

So that’s where you met your husband Charlie Hutton, Pammy’s son?

Yes, I arrived on a Sunday and met Charlie on the Tuesday and that was that!

How difficult did you find the transition to dressage and did Charlie help?

I had to play catch up and was given a schoolmistress, Amo, to start out competing at medium advanced! I had some crap scores, but some good ones too, and eventually rode Amo to Inter 2 and in two regional championships. That opened up the doors to take on more rides.
Charlie is a huge help and I train frequently with him — he is brutally honest with me!

Do you train with anyone else?

I have regular sessions with Carl Hester and sometimes with my mother-in-law Pammy Hutton.

What do you struggle with most?

I guess I struggled with my seat and posture as I hadn’t ridden from a young age and i’m a natural sloucher. Putting your neck in back collar really makes you sit up. Also, I had a long battle with competition nerves and I just found that just going out more and more really helped. I’m going to start pilates too.
What are your career highlights over the last year or so?
I’ve ridden at three National Championships and represented Ireland at Hartpury, Hickstead and Saumur CDIs in 2015. I also placed in the top five at Hickstead International with Armagnac and had a win at Keysoe Premier League with my young horse, Giraldo, owned by Lotty Chatterton.

Tell us about your other top horses?

I have another 12-year-old horse called Don Dino, a 17.1hh Hanovarian gelding, which belonged to Charlie but as he has kissing spine the vet suggested he should have a lighter rider. He’s really talented and we have qualified for the Nationals at advanced medium.
Then there’s Starlet Blue, a nine-year-old mare owned by Judy Peploe. She’s premium graded in Germany but very inexperienced so we’re competing at novice and elementary.
I also ride Giraldo, a really special five-year-old gelding owned by Lotty Chatterton.   I’m off to Hickstead young horse champs with him (national and international class). He has been getting 80% scores and has a really amazing big uphill balanced canter and is really adjustable. And his brain and attitude… I’ve never known anything like it — he just loves to work!

What tips would you give to other riders?

Train hard but don’t take it too seriously — it has to be fun.
Most riders put too much pressure on themselves and their horses but that can make things worse. If you get a bad mark, it can only get better! And if you’re having a bad day when you’re schooling, just go for a canter.

What are your goals?

To keep riding for a living, have happy horses and have fun.
Of course I’d also like to win a national title, go on international big tour and ultimately ride for the Irish team at the Olympics.

Any tips to help keep horses sound and happy?

Horses thrive on routine but don’t be afraid to experiment. Some of my horses do a couple of days dressage, then a hack on Wednesday, then dressage again and have the weekend off. Others have a jump day or a canter day in the middle and Dino only does dressage twice a week — he hacks and canters the rest.
Be patient and take note of what makes your horse feel the best, but don’t worry about breaking it every once in a while — sometimes routine may alter for a show so you need to be relaxed about it!
I’m also a serious fan of getting your stirrups up and working in a light seat to get your horse forward and loose in the back — it’s also great fun! Dressage horses are being bred with so much power and energy now, I think you have to be up for a bit of adrenaline to keep them fresh in their minds and entertained. I also take Giraldo to the water treadmill once a week. (see our blog about Hydrotherapy)

Why Horse Scout?

It looks professional and is it’s clever how horses and riders connect and how you can see the history of a horse and who used to ride it. I also like the fact that there are some great horses for sale but many at realistic prices.

images provided by Judy Peploe

Find out more about Abigail Hutton on Horse Scout

Abi Hutton has a profile on Horse Scouts’ Professional Rider Pages which goes into detail about her career and what she can offer you.  It also has some lovely photos; click through and follow Abigail Hutton on Horse Scout.



Kathryn Robinson Talks to Horse Scout

Kathryn Robinson, Canadian event rider 
Naunton, England, with our Horse Scout reporter before setting off for the week of her life

International Event Rider , Kathryn Robinson, talks to Horse Scout about her career and her tips for buying an event horse

What are your biggest achievements?

Being chosen to represent my country (I was born in Canada and my mother is Canadian) and ride in the Olympics at Rio. I was travelling as reserve but due to a horse being lame, I’m now part of the team.
I was short-listed for London 2012 and in 2014 was selected for the WEG but was unable to compete because of a technical hitch with the paperwork. I’ve placed 7th at Pau four-star.

Tell us about your top horse, Let it Bee, who you’ll be riding for Canada in South America.

He’s a 15-year old German-bred gelding by Lamerto out of Baroness. I got him as a 7-year old from a guy that had bought him from an auction but was fed up as he had started to stick his tongue out. If I looked at him now I would never buy him — he’s so long, hence his nickname Limousine — and not put together to be a top event horse. But I bought him to do some pre novices to get my confidence back and just kept going. His best discipline is dressage and although he can be a bit hot at a one-day event, he’s very good at a three day and has been extremely consistent this year.

And you rode at Badminton for the first time earlier this year?

Yes, my aim was to complete, which I did with a double clear. I wasn’t the quickest cross country but I didn’t want to over phase him.

How did you get into eventing?

I didn’t grow up in a horsey family but I always loved them and belonged to the local pony club as a teenager. I stopped riding around the age of 16 and then didn’t take it up again until my 20s when I became a working pupil Samantha Albert, a Canadian-born eventer who rides for Jamaica.
She found me my first event horse, Hugo Simon, and I ended up doing quote well on him, competing in one and two stars and coming second at a one star in Portugal.

Who else would you say has been influential?

My fiancee Giovani Ugolotti (the Italian event rider) as he really helped me regain my confidence after losing Hugo. Gio’s my best coach — always honest and no, we don’t argue that much as neither of us can be bothered! We also both visit Henriette Anderson for dressage.

Tell us about some of your other horses.

Suttogo Georg is a 7-year-old, German-bred ex-show jumper who is nippy, spooky but a really good jumper. His weakest link is dressage but he’s not naughty, he’s just never been taught and I hope that will fall into place by next year and we can move up the grades.
I have another 7-year-old called Linus, a 6-year-old named Calling Card and a four-year old called Castello.

And they are all German?

Yes, I like the German horses and we have a good agent out there who I trust and has good eye.

So what would your advice be for others when buying a horse; particularly an event horse?

Go with someone you trust and who can be helpful with regards to the breeding.
Some great stallions produce very nice young horses but they don’t all go on to be a top event horse — look at those with good competition records.

And do you favour any bloodlines?

Linus and Calling Card are by Heraldic — but as he is so old it’s impossible to find them anymore.
We have three in the yard by Duke of Hearts. I just gave the ride on Duke of Champion to Gio… he just grew so big that I felt I couldn’t physically help him show jumping. Gio is pleased… he just got a 6-year-old at novice!

What single thing has changed your riding for the better?

I’ve always suffered from nerves and can freeze at a competition. This year I’ve seen two sports psychologists and they’ve been really helpful giving me exercises to stay focused — it has literally transformed my performance.

And next year is a big year… your wedding to Giovanni. Is it all organised?

The venue is… it’s at my parent’s house. Other than that, the only thing I’ve done is buy the dress! And we’re also going to have to have a mini honeymoon as the date is in the middle of the eventing season!
Kathryn Robinson has a professional Rider profile page on Horse Scout.  Click through and see her horses and read about her career as a professional Event rider and trainer.